Access To Health
Care at Community-Based Clinics for Disease Prevention And Treatment:
Addressing The Latino Community As An Emerging Majority (PDF
Access to health care involves how feasible it is for individuals to
attend clinics in order to address and meet healthcare needs: Transportation,
language and cultural comprehension, ability to follow-up and to integrate
into a health care system. These are important considerations for individuals
with limited resources.
Encompassing 12.5% of the U.S. population, 35.3 million Hispanics reside
in the U.S. It is well-established that different disease entities are
more prevalent in specific populations and are associated with different
ethnicities. As an emerging majority, the Latino population faces diverse
challenges. Dallas is an urban center with a longstanding, well-established
Latino community plus an immigrant population largely from Latin America.
Hispanics account for 35% of the population in Dallas. This group has
a high prevalence of chronic diseases, including: Hypertension, Diabetes,
Hyperlipidemia, and Obesity. When health care is inaccessible to any large
part of a community, the disease burden is shared; thereby the of the
communitys overall health, its economy and stability are compromised.
Our research at a non-profit community clinic and at an acute-care free
clinic, through patient interviews, led us to define how individuals access
various health care systems and to derive how this affects their health
status. Chart review studies showed that continuity of care and education
regarding acute and chronic illnesses improves health outcomes. Prevention
is key to reducing risks of disease and disease progression. Defining
obstacles to access and identifying how this affects long-term health
status, allows us to address the health of the Latino community.
R.L. Cruz M.D.